Wine Tasting Video Series
Andrea Morgan, CSW, FWS
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Port is a fortified wine made from grapes grown in the Douro River Valley of northern Portugal; fortified meaning a clear grape spirit or brandy is added to the wine. This was traditionally done to preserve the wines for their boat journey to Great Britain. Port wines are stored and aged in Port Houses, downstream from the Douro, in the town of Vila Nova de Gaia. While there are white and rose Port wines, sweet Red Port wine is most common; alcohol ranges somewhere between 17%-22%. My favorite red is an aged Tawney Port; the older the better! Port is served like a dessert wine and typically pairs well with chocolate, fruit (red/black berries and figs), nuts, and cheese (blue cheese, Stilton, or any aged, nutty cheese).
Look for a bottle of white Txakoli or "Chacoli" wine made primarily from the Hondarrabi Zuri grape. You will likely find this in the Spanish section of your wine store. It is a refreshing summer wine with a slight bit of spritz. It is traditional paired with Pintxos; a Basque version of small plates or tapas. Txacoli is a wine style, not a grape, and is extremely popular in the autonomous Basque region of Northern Spain. While you can find a rose, red or sparkling Txakoli wine, it is rare. This is because production of these less common styles are small, and are generally consumed by locals. If you want to try making some Northern Basque Pintxos, there are a multitude of cookbooks and online recipes you can find. I would highly recommend watching the late Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown in San Sebastian episode which inspired my visit to this region.
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Andrea Morgan is a wine enthusiast and Certified Sommelier. You can refer to her Wine Consultation page to view her other credentials and services.